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In 2012 I designed a program that was specifically created to be used with supplements (vitamins and minerals).  At the time, it was my intention to promote a clean supplement line with the program.  After a while, it became clear that our involvement with any Multi-Level Marketing company could be a conflict of interest.  Pulling out of all MLM involvement and turned those businesses over to others seemed like the right thing to do.  Happily, they are doing very well with them and giving them the attention they deserve.  My intention is to support health coaches in whatever you decide fits with your niche and is needed by your ideal customer.

In retrospect, it is good it happened this way because I learned a LOT about multi-level marketing.  My upline was doing all the work for me, so there was probably a lot that I didn’t learn.  Some companies do not consider themselves to be technically “multi-level.”  The difference between the companies I am discussing here and direct sales is the many levels of “people” who are enrolled and not just the product being sold.  With this type of program, you don’t just exchange cash for a product, you turn the person over to the sales company, and you make a profit off what they buy and the people they turn over to the company.  Usually, the company pays you. The purchaser does not.

It normally takes an investment to get into the company.  The strong MLM’s require that you make a minimum monthly purchase to enable all the people on your team to meet their goals.  In MLM, you are not working alone. Everything you do affects the people around you. You have to work really hard at first just to make enough to pay for your own monthly obligation to the MLM.  The good news is, if you go into it like a business and work hard…you will prosper.  Some people make ungodly amounts of money.  They did well because they were hard workers.  MLM is not getting rich quickly.

MLM is not PASSIVE income to start off with.  You have to work hard….and you can’t quit working hard.  That shouldn’t surprise us because that is how life and business are.  The problem is, a lot of people make a pretty hefty investment into these things, thinking it is going to be pretty easy and not really evaluating the time and effort it takes to build up.

Multi-level marketing creates income from 2 sources, the product that you personally sell and the products that the people you recruit sells.  The people who are recruited are called your down line.  There are several ways to make money from what your downline does.

Not all network marketing is profitable; it is your job to “vet” the company and discern if it is going to be right for you and your customers.  You will want to vet:

  • quality
  • price
  • suitability to your niche
  • their values match yours
  • financial disposition of the company

I was approached by a company last week that made me very nervous.  It was a great pitch and a good offering for health coaches, but sometimes you just have to trust your intuition if there is something that doesn’t quite seem right.  Err on the side of caution.  This is your reputation at stake.

In the meantime, we have tons of customers who are very interested in using different products to enhance their business.

Back in my Tony Robbins days, one of the most valuable lessons I learned was…”If you want to do something right, find someone who has done it and has proven results.”  SO…Last week during Mentoring Monday, I interviewed 2 people who are kicking it in network marketing by adding products to programs.  My daughter, Ashlie Pappas with doTERRA, and Elizabeth Ryder with a top-notch supplement company.  They each have their own way of doing things.  The one thing they have in common – they know their products are going to change the lives of the people who are using them.  They believe in what they are promoting 110%.

In our Mentoring Monday group, we have a wide variety of situations.  Bio-Individual MLM’ers.   We have some coaches who are selling products only, some who are recruiting, some who are thinking about it, and maybe even some who don’t think MLM should mix with health coaching.

There are a lot of gems in the interviews below. Please read slowly and take it all in.  You are getting tips and truths from health coaches who are successfully integrating Programs and Products.


Elizabeth Rider



What company are you working with, and how did you select and vet this company?

I work with USANA Health Sciences. I had been using the USANA products for a few years with fantastic results before becoming a health coach, so the decision to use them in my program was pretty seamless. In a way, I added programs to the products, not the other way around. I was working in Corporate America and had always taken a multivitamin, so when my massage therapist offered me half off of a massage to learn more about the product, I was excited to listen (and get half off my next massage!) I like that USANA is a pharmaceutical-grade product and that they manufacture all of their own products in-house. I thought the price was right and have been on the products ever since. That was about 8 years ago.


At the time, I didn’t know anything about direct sales but had met some people who had amazing lives, and I could tell that they loved what they did, and I wanted that, too. I’ve learned so much about the industry in the past 8 years and work with incredibly talented people. A lot of my peers are MBAs or held high-level corporate positions. There are also a lot of professional athletes and parents that work the business. Backgrounds vary greatly, but the common thread is the quest for freedom and a bigger life. There were a few companies that were “bad eggs” in the industry in the ’80s, and that’s what gave people a negative feeling about direct sales. Most of those are gone now, and the solid companies that are around now doing wonderful things for the economy and their customer bases.


How much time a week do you spend working your Direct Sales business?

Hard to say because I am always planting seeds. The number of hours varies each week, but between everything thing I do, I would say I work about 30-40 hours/week about 70% of the time and about 10 hours/week the rest of the time. Occasionally I have one of those 60 hour weeks, but all in all, I’ve built a really solid foundation and can be pretty flexible with my time. When I started, it was pretty constantly 40 hours per week, but that’s not required. One of the biggest benefits of direct sales is working on your own time.

May I ask what your investment was to get into the business?

The distributor application fee was $19.95 when I started. Now it is $29.95 to be a distributor and free to be a preferred customer. When you become a distributor, you pay the application fee and purchase a custom product package to get started. That way, you start with the exact products that you want.

How long did it take you to show a profit with your company?

I saw income within the first month – in USANA, we get paid weekly. I just started referring friends to the products and started making checks. When you’re first building, you will have some high and some low weeks, but I don’t think I have ever been in the “red.”

Do you have to inventory any product- or pack and ship it?

No inventory on hand – the company drop ships the product straight to the customer and handles all customer service.

How are you marketing it?

Guest blog posts, my own website and blog, and speaking engagements have generated the most amount of customers for me. There are different ways to market. I always tell people to only blog if they like to blog, don’t force yourself to do it if it doesn’t feel right. I  encourage it; there are so many ways to build a business, and blogging is one of the best ways to reach the masses.

Are you currently health coaching?

Yes – group coaching only. When I did one on one health coaching, I felt like I was saying the same thing to everyone, so I funneled all of that information into my online program. To date, over 1,000 people have gone through my online program! That’s a combination of my own customers and the customers of my USANA team members who also go through my program. It’s optional for my team members, but they get full access to my program to use with their customers, too.

How do you work USANA into your health coaching business?

For customers, the baseline product package that I recommend to all of my customers comes with all of my programs (they are not an optional add-on.) I also have a Partner program on my website, which is my business training to teach other health coaches to duplicate my business model.

What is your pricing policy? Can you discount or value add? How does that work for you?

With USANA, our customers get their own free Preferred Customer account, which gives them the same pricing that I get as a distributor. I don’t mark up the programs (I just charge for the product) and use my online program content as a value add. I know the more value I give my customers, the more likely they are to stick with me, so I don’t mark up the programs.

What advice would you give to health coaches who are wondering how to incorporate products into their business?

If you choose direct sales, be sure that you are selling a product that is highly consumable. Highly consumable means that people take it every day and will need to re-order every 28-30 days. A solid direct sales business is built on your customer base re-ordering product from you. If the product is not highly consumable (e.g., it lasts for 6+ months), then you will constantly be trying to find new customers. That’s why supplements work so well in direct sales—we are able to cut out the middleman (retail chains), so the customer gets a better deal and fresher product shipped straight from the manufacturer, and it’s highly consumable.


I also remind health coaches to think of a long-term business plan. How will you generate long-term income? Hourly coaching can only generate so much income because there are only a certain number of hours in the week that you can work. If you do sell an online program, is it a one-time sale? Your efforts are better spent on high-quality content that positively impacts your customer’s life AND begins to generate monthly income for you. If your customer gets on the product and loves it and continues to use it monthly, you will begin to build a solid foundation. I knew that I needed to sell a product in order to make the income I wanted to replace my corporate income, and health coaching alone wasn’t going to do it.

Elizabeth would love to answer any other questions you might have.  Contact Elizabeth here.


Ashlie Pappas



What company are you working with, and how did you select and vet this company?

I work with doTerra – I have been in the health and wellness side of things for 10 years.  I am a personal trainer, yoga instructor, health coach, and currently in school for aromatherapy.

I used essential oils and was introduced to doTerra through my mother.

Last year I wanted an inexpensive way to give thoughtful, natural gifts to my friends and family for Christmas. I made personalized sugar scrubs, lip balms, shaving soaps, oil blends, and other homemade goods.  I didn’t expect that people would want more of the gifts and oils.

I wanted to be able to send everyone somewhere where I knew they would receive high-quality products, so I researched the companies. I found the product to be of superior quality and fell in love with the support doTerra provided as well as the compensation plan.


Were there any surprises?

I was very apprehensive about network marketing due to past experience and was surprised it went so well. I was only hoping to maybe get my own oils for free. I didn’t think it would be so lucrative, easy to incorporate in health coaching. I didn’t know how much I would love the other products.  I have a rare autonomic nervous system disorder and manage it with oils and supplements.

One of the things that have fueled my passion for doTERRA is that I am able to find more relief from my dysautonomia, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) with the oils and supplements than I have with modern medicine. I honestly didn’t think I would ever enjoy the quality of life again that I do today. There is still little known about these conditions, and a lot of people go through absolute misery during the diagnosis process. Some doctors have never even heard of it.

Through experimenting with the oils and finding out what helps and what doesn’t, I realized I could help a LOT of people find relief. Not only where modern medicine has fallen short, but also in a way that is natural. A health coaching “niche” just naturally emerged. The illness is generally not fatal (although there are some types that can increase the likelihood of arterial rupture, organ rupture, etc.), but it is usually the symptoms that debilitate. I have found more satisfaction than I can even express through helping people find natural ways to help manage their symptoms. It has, without a doubt, made what was a horrible situation into an absolute blessing!

How much time a week do you spend working your MLM business?

I commit to 20 hours a week – I now want to make it sustainable income for long-term residual income in the next year. This also includes health coaching. Everything comes together within health and wellness. It is a part of my everyday living and my health coaching. It all works together.

May I ask what your investment was to get into the business?

$35 – enrollment fee (I didn’t get a product kit and still wish I would’ve).

Do you have a certain amount of money you need to spend each month to make money?

No min to get the discount but to get commissions. It is $100 a month. I would buy the oils anyway.

How long did it take you to show a profit with your company?

I am hitting gold this month, and in less than one year in, I am making more than I did full-time as a personal trainer! I was discussing this with my husband the other night.  He said, “do you mean from when you started with doTerra, or when you started really working it?”  That is the truth, 3-4 months from when I signed, but when I started working the business, it was the same month. I love that I have the ability to work and take the time I need for myself when I need to. I had surgery and didn’t have to worry about losing income during the recovery time.

Do you have to inventory any product- or pack and ship it?

No, it is shipped from doTerra directly. Customers can order directly on my free business site at retail cost or create wholesale accounts to receive my pricing and order as needed.

How are you marketing it?

Blogs, presentations, speaking, workshops, social media – I cannot always get out of the house with my illness, and this gives me the flexibility to do what I need and take care of myself. Local events are promoted through Craigslist, local businesses, online, local media, where I am doing the workshops.

Are you currently health coaching?

Yes, both locally and online. I prefer group programs but will do one-on-one coaching as needed. With health coaching, I felt I would be doing my clients a disservice by not educating them about the oils and making them available to them.

What is your pricing policy? Can you discount or value add?  How does that work for you?

I sign people up so they can order their own product – I don’t sell products. I educate them on the oils and, if they want, help them to build the business. This also helps to keep in closer contact with clients after coaching is complete and provides opportunities for future coaching opportunities.

Do you add products to your programs?

I use the product as a supplement to my programs – but almost always do something to help the client meet their goals and maybe faster and easier.

What advice would you give to health coaches who are wondering how to incorporate products into their business?

Try the company or product and see if it resonates with you – make sure it resonates with you. Be open-minded and give it a try. It is a great tool to add to offer clients. Make sure you work with someone who can teach you how to effectively use it in your practice.

Ashlie would love to answer any questions you have.  You can contact her at [email protected] or by clicking here.

Ashlie gave us some suggestions for products to be used with different programs.  I want to be really clear that THCG is not connected to these companies.  Any product can be added to our programs easily and quickly, and it can be very beneficial in building your business.  I add to the suggestions for some different product types.

12-day detox

Prepackage “detox kit” with Lemon Oil, GI cleanse, probiotics, digestive enzymes, detoxification oil blend, and Lifelong Vitality (multivitamin plus). She might add $10-$20 to the total cost to cover the venue for workshops. She has then filled out the application for the account, and she has them pay her for that and takes care of setting it up. Then they have the ability to get the product after the detox themselves.

Supplement products:  enzymes, probiotics.  This is all-natural, so we don’t suggest that you add protein shakes or bars.

Fitness programs.

Make sure you are using all-natural products within the detox program

Slim Sexy & Smart

Metabolic blend, Supplement shake, Probiotic, Enzymes, Lemon oil, and wholesale account.

Bars and shakes, as well as supplements, are perfect for this program.

Beachbody or other fitness programs would be a good match.

Spiritual Cleanse

Diffuser, wholesale account, and spiritually enhancing and grounding oils.

3, 6, 9, and 12 Month

Since the goals of these programs are so individualized, I listen to their needs, then add products that will best assist them in meeting their goals. I then add in pages from the Essential Oils supplemental module each session to educate them on that aspect of wellness.

I customize each program to put in my product line. I almost always include the wholesale account in my programs which gives them the discount and ability to order again. I also modified the Essential Oil Supplemental Module to reflect oils carried by doTerra and list their blends by their generic name, and gives them to all of my clients, customers, and members of my team.

It is ok to offer more than one company if you truly believe the products will benefit the client. If there are conflicting products, be honest about preferences, choosing the one that is in the client’s best interest. Be sure the company you are working with is open to handling their product in conjunction with others.  Some companies have a problem with that.

Anything works with the 3-6-9-12 Month program that will work for your client.

I hope you enjoyed these interviews and learned as much as I did.  There are definitely some strategies and practices that work for these coaches.

Watch the interview by clicking here.

Mentoring Monday is every Monday at 12 p.m. CST.

I would love, love, love if you told us how you integrate your products with our programs and which products you recommend for each program.

Share your ideas and network marketing experiences, and thoughts below in the comments!  Share with your friends.



  1. farah

    thoughtful post! The MLM company with an ethos cose to your own, would be a better fit. Adding in the products to your existing business is good, I agree :).

  2. Susie

    i have a couple of good friends that work for MLM companies and they work nonstop. It is a huge commitment of time and energy and can be tough to do ‘part time’.

  3. Lois Olson

    That’s such a great idea to share the EOs with others and when they love them as much as I do, let them know they can sign up as a wholesaler as well to get the same prices I do. The products sell themselves because the client has already fallen in love with them and the products need to be renewed on a regular basis.

    Also love the ideas about marketing via guest posting, blogs and social media.

  4. Cathy

    Such great questions to ask when considering an MLM. I’ve been approached to join in with a couple of products, but haven’t come across one that truly speaks to me in the way it needs to were I to jump in. This post is a great resource if that opportunity arises.

  5. Dana

    WOW! What a comprehensive list, I had no idea! I have been asked to join a few, just never anything that his my passion button. I know a few friends who work around the clock on their MLM.

    • Rana

      What is mlm

  6. Sue Ann Gleason

    Great interviews, thank you.

    I, too, have turned down MLM offers mostly because, like you, I felt like it would be a conflict of interests but also because I can usually find similar products for my clients that don’t have the “MLM mark up.” There were also occasions when I found questionable ingredients in a product and the people trying to get me to join the movement was so committed to the product (and the “movement”) they had failed to do their own detective work. I remember one product in particular that contained artificial sweeteners and this was a health coach promoting it. (???) So yes, your advice is good: listen closely, ask LOTS of questions, do your research, and follow your intuition.

  7. Dana

    Thanks for this post on MLM and these interviews. I got involved with a few companies, makeup & jewelry and soon regretted it. Mostly because I was too dumb to realize that it actually would take work, and I wasn’t getting the response I had hoped for. I think the USANA products would be a good match with my business. I may look further into that. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Cynthia Djengue

    Cathy – I have been involved with MLM businesses for more than 11 years. I appreciate this post. I personally have not felt any conflict of interest with holistic health and my Young Living essential oils – in fact, they go very well together. What I do find annoying is persons making false health claims and not knowing that every product is not for every person, making blanket statements about outcomes (not just oils as we have supplements, skin care, pet care, etc), and, not having the education or credentials to back it up. My company has worked very hard to ensure that none of their reps are making such claims and it’s unfortunate they have to hire an entire department to do this. With that said, I feel thankful for my soft-addiction to these oils. I use them personally – usually daily – and believe this particular business will continue to grow, just as holistic health becomes more widely accepted as seen through IIN and other organizations.

  9. Johanna

    Thank you Cathy! There are two really honest interviews and I appreciate you taking the time to provide them to us and educate us.

  10. Dinah Dowell Ostenso

    Great post! I would love to see more posts on this topic. It seems to be very hotly debated in our health coaching class with people strongly in favor or opposed to the idea. Personally, I found it very hard to “make a living” as a health coach exchanging money for hours – with my family schedule and three kids, clients need to meet with me at the same time that my family needs me. In addition, I find that Americans love products! They like to believe in them. So I chose a product line that I truly believe in – non-toxic and natural. It works perfectly with my health coaching platform. I also have a personal story to tie into it and I find that helps a lot – much like Ashlie.

  11. Shani

    I’m glad you wrote on MLM’s. I often see health coaches promoting different products and sometimes I feel like its a great idea and other times I don’t. I think because I have been involved with MLM’s before and I know that to make it you have to really push the product. I felt it would take away from what I love about coaching. I love the interviews you included as well, its good to read someone else’s experiences and how they make it work.

  12. Michelle

    I always find my walls coming up when a friend approaches me with an MLM. I’m always skeptical.

    Having said that, I own products that I purchased through MLMs that are GREAT products that I use REGULARLY!

    This post demystified the process and is a must for anyone considering an MLM. Great info, Cathy.

  13. Maria

    Wonderful post – so much information. Insightful and thought provoking. xx

  14. april

    i really enjoyed the interviews, cathy. i’ve been curious about a few MLMs through the years, but have always maintained some level of skepticism regarding their claims. yet, when i’ve used certain products myself, i’ve been pleased. useful and honest tips from two people who know.

  15. Holly

    Such a wonderful article on a slightly touchy topic. Often times when people here MLM they cringe and run. Usually that is due to a bad experience. I am part of doTerra essential oils and it has been a wonderful complement to my health coaching business. The bottom line with any MLM is you have to believe in and love the product and work it just as hard as any other business to be successful.

  16. Aubree

    My interest is definitely peaked about USANA. I’ll have to check that out further 🙂 Love the idea of the detox kit. Definitely something I could implement with clients. Thank you so much for sharing.


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